An experiance of a womwn devotee (53)

12/01/2012 History of Lord Ayyappa

PAATTIAMMA, a 97 – year old woman devotee has been going to Sabarimala walking all alone through dense forests for more than forty five years. Not only during the annual season of pilgrimage but also on the first of every Malayalam month and during the days of Vishu and Thiruvonam when the shrine opens for Pooja-s, this earnest devotee from Andipatty in Madurai district of Tamilnadu would reach Sannidhaanam, walking down the 29-kilometre stretch of forest path via Vallamkkadavu, Uppupara, Poonkavanam and Pandi- thaavalam.

Without company, people do not dare to go through this forest path, but the indomitable faith in the Lord empowered this woman of very advanced age to perform this incredible feat and climb with the Irumudikkettu the eighteen sacred steps more than five hundred times in the last forty seven years.

Among her many experiences of the abounding Grace of the invisible Presence, who, she believes, is always with her, a miraculous incident vividly lingers in her mind. A few years ago when she reached the middle of the forest area during one of her pilgrimages, the sky turned dark and there occurred a heavy downpour along with a devastating storm. She sat there drenched, repeating the name of Lord Ayyappa. When the rain stopped it was dark and she moved ahead a little, but soon realized that she had lost her way. Uttering aloud the Sharana Manthra, ‘Swamiye sharanam Ayyappa’, she again sat under a tree. Then she saw a figure moving towards her. It was another woman pilgrim on her way to Sabarimala. She led Paattiyamma to the right path and they walked together through the difficult and rain-soaked slippery terrain carefully without uttering a word. And when they reached Sannidhaanam Paattiyamma found that there was none beside her!

According to the age-old tradition only the females below the age of twelve and past fifty go to Sabarimala.

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